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Hansen Out With Rib Injury, Gaunce Likely In On Thurday

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Jannik Hansen injured his ribs during practice on Tuesday and will be out for about 2 weeks. Could be longer. Ever injure your ribs? It sucks. Radim Vrbata, who has missed a few games with a lower body injury, did practice today but may sit in favor of Brendan Gaunce. Vrbata said today via The Province:

"I’ve been around the league for a while and I understand — I won’t be a distraction and my approach to preparing won’t change," the Vancouver Canucks winger offered when asked how he would respond to sitting out amid the ongoing youth movement.

Vrbata also talked about the trade deadline, but I'll get into that later in this post.

Gaunce could not practice today because his equipment and luggage did not arrive from flight issues. Blame American flights. I have heard stories about the failures. But he is expected to play against the Sharks on Thursday night. Not sure if he is centering a bottom 6 line or playing wing on another line. Gaunce is second in Utica team scoring behind the traded Hunter Shinkaruk with 15 goals and 33 points in 43 AHL games this season. He has made his shots count with the Comets (14.7% accuracy) and has contributed on special teams. At 6'2" and about 207 pounds, Gaunce could be a power forward at the NHL level. He did play 2 games with the Canucks earlier this season (his first 2 NHL games), scoring 1 goal in 2 games. Here is the goal:

Diiiirrrrty but it counts.

I hope Gaunce gets a good look and I hope he impresses. In 2012, Mike Gillis drafted him 26th overall. Here is what he can bring to the table:

Can he bring it at the NHL level? Hope so!


Eck...but it is what it is, via Ben Kuzma at the Province:

However, the 34-year-old Vrbata isn’t looking at it that way. In fact, he’s actually grateful for what occurred at the NHL trade deadline. With family concerns and knowing the limited return the Canucks would receive for a struggling and injured winger — he has but two goals in his last 25 games — he saw the big picture. Vrbata waived his modified no-trade clause and submitted a list of eight suitable destinations to general manager Jim Benning. Only three actually made geographical sense because his wife is due to deliver the couple’s third child in May. That was a big deal.

Clubs called and Chicago kicked the trade tires before landing Andrew Ladd while others also went in different directions. And there wasn’t concrete offer for Vrbata, certainly not a reasonable draft pick for the unrestricted free agent’s expiring $5 million US cap hit this season, and he gets it.

"You have to look at the money and you have to look at my injury and my season and I don’t think it was a shock that I wasn’t moved," said Vrbata. "And I don’t think Jim should be blamed for it. I didn’t handcuff him with the list and some teams called who were not on the list, but I stuck with my list for family reasons. It probably wasn’t easy for him because if my family situation was different — the end game would have been different.

"I would have approached it differently and it would have been easier for them."

Yep, that's why the no trade clauses are negotiated. Doesn't mean that I'm not disappointed with Vrbata's season though. What...he's only good with the Sedins? Is that his limit? Does he always have to play with good players? He does not make the others better when he plays with them? Is he worth that kind of money then? The Canucks need game-changers not named Sedin. Vrbata is not one of them. That's all I have to say about this.